I first met Adrian at a Writers Victoria course that he was running on self publishing. His energy, enthusiasm and success with self publishing inspired everyone at the course and J.R Knight and myself definitely benefited from his knowledge. His food snaps are drool worthy and if you’re a foodie or even if you just like food, I recommend following his Instagram. Another Melbourne based writer, I am pleased to introduce you to Adrian Briones.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m the author of What the Heck is Filipino Food? which won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award and landed on the Amazon’s Best Sellers and publisher of the long running Melbourne food blog, Food Rehab.
I’ve written for publications including Broadsheet, SBS Food, contributed to several cookbooks, a regular speaker and tutor at various organisations including the Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Writers Victoria and had quit my corporate job as the head of advertising operations at Carsales.com Ltd to go out on my own holding self-publishing workshops and helping writers one on one with branding and distribution. Most recently I was a key speaker at Bupa talking all things leadership and Voices of Young Leaders at RMIT University providing mentorship to our nation’s youth.
What is your writing style, what do you like to write?
It depends on the medium but I love writing about food. If I’m writing a post on the blog, I keep things casual, not at all too serious – in fact, my writing can be quite unconventional and my readers over the last 7 years have been loyal because of that, they’ve stayed part of my journey. I’ve always believed that when it comes to blogging, your writing needs to represent your true authentic self, otherwise, what’s the point?
If I’m writing a piece for a publication, then I’d of course, write according to their editorial guidelines, as hard as it is!
Why did you self publish?
I wish more authors who have/had decided to go down the traditional route of publishing are asked why they didn’t self-publish more often! It would have be one of the most liberating and fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my career.
The reasons I didn’t take my manuscript for – What the heck is Filipino Food? – to a publisher were the same reasons why I kept the project secret for the two years I was working on it. Being that it was a book so close to the heart, the last thing I wanted for the publisher to start slashing family recipes, anecdotes, chapters and most importantly, I didn’t want the pressure as I was still working long hours keeping up with deadlines at my job in advertising at the time. Self-publishing gave me the opportunity to put out a body of work that was truly unique having had total creative control over from the cover design to the comic book themed layout.
What are the best and worst parts of self publishing?
Self-publishing is running your own business – you are responsible for everything that can go right and wrong. You don’t have the engine of a publishing house to take care of day to day business matters so you must be prepared to work your butt off so to speak, as an entrepreneur. You are accountable for invoicing, distribution, contracts, marketing, design
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just wrapped up my self-publishing workshops and speaking engagements for this season and am helping other writer’s with their branding strategies, so now I have time to get stuck into writing my second book about Filipino food which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping to spend a couple of months in the Philippines to shoot a tonne of scenes for the book. I’m also contributing to an upcoming anthology and cookbook being released in the US.
What advice have you got for people who may be thinking of self publishing?
I would always start off with: Do you have the time?
What many people don’t realise is that depending on the type of book, self-publishing can be a lengthy, costly and complicated process, so proper due diligence and research is essential. A cookbook for instance is far more expensive to produce than a paperback novel as there are more considerations – photography (+equipment) or professional photographer fees, photo editing, recipe testing, ingredients, travel expenses, props and the upward costs of premium quality colour printing on top of marketing, distribution, design and editing.
Start your marketing from the very get go. Branding is the key to the success of your book. People don’t just buy you product, they are buying into your brand. I would recommend starting a blog so readers can be part of the journey, partake in the writing community from book clubs and meet ups and embrace social media but don’t continually flog your product.
When it comes to cover design, you get what you pay for. Invest in a good designer and always view their past coves and references. Research the best sellers in you genre – what kind of covers to they have, what titles draw in the numbers etc..
I learnt so many new business skills and have become an entrepreneur as a result of the opportunities gained from self-publishing, so if you’re up for the challenge of not only writing but running a business, then I would recommend it. Oh and don’t forget to hire a proof reader, editor and beta readers.
Book or eBook?
Both – launch with one format and test the waters. Releasing another format later down the track also give the book more marketing life
If you held a dinner party, which literary characters would you invite and why?
Tough one but definitely Galadriel created by J.R.R. Tolkien, appearing in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit alongside Gandalf of course. The stories they’d tell would be unreal though, I don’t think they’d eat anything and would probably burden me with that damn ring!
1) What was the last book you read? Kinfolk Home – I’ve been doing a tonne of property renos and styling projects over the last year, so I draw my inspiration from Kinfolk’s principles on slow living and their minimalist approach to design.
2) Who is your favourite author? So many, can’t pick one!
3) What can’t you leave home without? Terrible, but my mobile phone. I run my business on it plus what am I going to take pictures of my food with?
4) What was the last song you heard? Street Corner Symphony – Rob Thomas
5) What is your favourite word? (Can be in English or another language) Masarap! Which means ‘yum’ in Tagalog
You can find Adrian at the following: